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Live - Premier League

Blackburn 0-1 Chelsea

Man Utd 2-1 Everton
Newcastle 2-2 Derby


To get involved use 606 or text us your views & comments on 81111. (Not all contributions can be used)

By Paul Fletcher

1815: Very much over and out. Had a lot of fun today and some of you people have had a big hand in that. I'm back on Boxing Day and want to know all about Christmas Day - the good presents, the bad presents, the tears, the laughs, the food, the booze. The lot. And some football chat as well.

1810: Your Player of the Day is Cristiano Ronaldo with 8.68, some way clear of the other contenders. The man who has to go into Christmas with the lowest rating is Newcastle's David Rozehnal with 4.58.

"You won your number of goals bet, Fletcher!"
dicanio9 on 606

If only, my friend, if only. Two people on eight goals. I had a later last-goal time and the other blighter scoops the 13 pot. Unbelievable.

"When you look at Manchester United in comparison to Chelsea you would say they have more match-winners. I still think United are the favourites to win the league."
Mark Lawrenson on BBC Radio 5 Live

1803: Full-time Blackburn 0-1 Chelsea
Chelsea superbly played out the six minutes of injury-time to secure a very good win at Blackburn, who are struggling for form at the moment. Chelsea are six points behind Premier League leaders Arsenal.

1800: "Somebody better show Blackburn how to beat a goalkeeper. Please! What a snooze inducer this Blackburn v Chelsea game is."
darkanddom on 606

1757: Blackburn break and David Bentley delivers a teasing cross but there is nobody in the area taking a chance. There will be six minutes injury-time.

1754: Chelsea are playing keep-ball at the moment, ticking down the clock. They win a free-kick, but the ball is smashed into the wall.

1751: Blackburn will have won just one of their last eight Premier League games if this fixture ends as it stands. Rovers made a good start to the season but that is becoming a fast-fading memory.

1749: Chelsea goalscorer Joe Cole makes way for Claudio Pizarro. Salomon Kalou heads goalwards and Brad Friedel saves.

Chelsea are finishing this game the stronger of the two teams.

1744: Time ticking down for Blackburn. Chelsea almost double their lead through Frank Lampard but Brad Friedel makes an excellent save low to his left. An excellent stop and just about the first thing he has had to do in the second half. From the subsequent corner Ricardo Carvalho has a stab at a loose ball just as Friedel collects it. The keeper is not amused. You might say the defender is no longer on the keeper's Christmas card list (but only if you weren't very funny).

1741: Jason Roberts comes on for Tugay. Note that Benni McCarthy is on the bench.

1738: Hold the front page. Hilario makes an absolutely brilliant, amazing save to palm a Roque Santa Cruz header out for a corner.

1737: "Man City wore their third kit on Saturday as purple would clash with Aston Villa's Claret. Come on, try harder!" Sam in Farnborough via text on 81111

1736: Hilario comes for a cross - gets nowhere near but Roque Santa Cruz heads wide. Mark Hughes puts his hands on his head in a very theatrical manner. Slightly over 20 minutes left.

1734: Hilario makes a dog's dinner of dealing with a corner, punching the ball into the ground just a couple of feet in front of him. The danger is eventually cleared.

1730: Petr Cech waves to the bench that he must be subbed and after lots of procrastinating he finally gives way to third choice Hilario. Carlo Cudicini is out injured.

"It would be fair to say that Hilario is carrying some timber."
Mark Lawrenson on BBC Radio 5 Live

1728: It should be 2-0 to Chelsea but David Dunn makes an amazing challenge to block a goalbound shot from Michael Essien.

"I would suggest that is the best tackle David Dunn has ever made."
Mark Lawrenson on BBC Radio 5 Live

1726: "Last Christmas I got the Chelsea, Man City, Spurs and Newcastle away shirts, the Arsenal and Spurs third shirts and the Birmingham home shirt! Not a good Christmas."
RebelArmyRedDevil on 606

Brilliant, just brilliant. A superb example of how two themes can be seamlessly weaved together with style and wit.

1723: "Last Christmas I got new cufflinks (girlfriend promptly washed them and the stones fell out); a pen (which I left in my car which was subsequently broken into and it was stolen); and a new coat (which I later accidentally left at a restaurant and despite repeated assurances by the staff it was never returned).
boringoldblue on 606

1722: Blackburn win a free-kick. It is smashed into the wall and Rovers win a corner. Cech is struggling. This could be interesting - but it isn't. Comes to nothing.

1719: Petr Cech is up and about. So far so good for the Czech keeper, though Hilario is warming-up on the sidelines. (Trust me, that is not easy to do in Blackburn at this time of year).

1716: Petr Cech comes off the worst following a collision with a Blackburn player. He goes down and seems to have a problem with his stomach area. Out comes the magic spray.

1713: The second-half is under way at Ewood Park.

1710: "We all agree that Spurs' 'Chocolate Brown' away/third kit last year was the worst, right? Also, I request that Mr. Fletcher stay on and commentate on El Classico."
MightySpurs07-08 on 606

No chance. As I explained at the very start of the day I have got to go and eat another Christmas dinner tonight.

By the way, my assistant editor has just wandered over and questioned whether Man City's away kit is purple because yesterday they wore a white kit. Any answers? Could do with some info because he is stood over my shoulder.

1706: Question - can anybody remember what they got last Christmas? I know I can't.

1703: "Man City's away jersey is awful. Purple? Are you joking?"
Eddyj90 on 606

Anger, real anger. Can football kits really be a source of such genuine anger?

1657: Half-time Blackburn 0-1 Chelsea
An entertaining half ends. Blackburn have hit the woodwork twice while Chelsea have found it once. However, the goal column is the one that matters and Joe Cole is the only one to have found the back of the net.

Is there any way back for Blackburn?
moron and proud on 606

1654: "Birmingham's effort on Saturday of the blue home top with a white stripe combined with the red shorts and socks was even worse than the football on show."
moron and proud on 606

1651: The match continues to move from end to end but it is Chelsea who look as though they have the greater cutting edge. They are certainly high visibility in their away strip and so team-mates have no excuse for not picking each other out.

1646: This time it is Brad Friedel's turn to make a brilliant save, just managing to tip a long-range strike from Frank Lampard onto the post. Lampard was given far, far too much space to close in on Blackburn's goal.

1643: Blackburn come very close to an equaliser but Petr Cech makes a brilliant save, tipping a Steven Reid shot onto the crossbar.

1639: "The Arsenal third kit, the horrible navy and maroon jersey, it looks like a terrible imitation Barca jersey. There is also the Spurs away kit, the light blue monstrosity."
gunner-rossmcd on 606

"Newcastle's away kit is worse. By the way I think Chelsea's kit is quite good."
tamilmanutdfan03 on 606

1635: All sorts going on inside the Blackburn penalty area. Brad Friedel makes a partial save from a low cross. Michael Essien latches on to the rebound but his shot is smothered.

1632: GOAL Blackburn 0-1 Chelsea
Joe Cole scores his fifth goal of the season after collecting a superbly weighted through ball from Salomon Kalou. It is a superb finish from the England international, who drills the ball into the top corner.

1630: Chelsea waste two chances from successive corners, the second of which sees Andriy Shevchenko shoot over the bar on the turn.

1627: "Chelsea will win 2-0. Michael Essien will be the key man in the match."
Souljaboy_crankthat on 606

Although, to be fair, Blackburn should probably be ahead.

1626: Chelsea are wearing their luminous yellow away kit - and it isn't even foggy in Blackburn. I don't like it. Can you think of a worse kit in the Premier League?

1623: Roque Santa Cruz is played clean through but drags his shot wide from 18 yards. A great chance wasted. I have the feeling that Rovers must take one of these opportunities.

1620: A David Bentley free-kick strikes the woodwork. It is all Blackburn at the moment and Avram Grant has a look on his face that I would not chose to describe as festive.

1619: "Derby and Newcastle's match reminded me of my Under-13's team. Everyone tripping over their own feet, punting the ball forward, anywhere. No skill, no class, pathetic really. Derby are in altogether the wrong division and Newcastle seemed to be dragged down to their level. Of course Newcastle are really at the bottom of the second division of teams in the Premier league."
barrymanulow on 606

1617: David Bentley cuts in from the left and unleashes a shot that is only narrowly over the Chelsea crossbar.

1614: The ball breaks to Roque Santa Cruz but his shot is brilliantly blocked by Ricardo Carvalho. A corner is then delivered that eludes everyone as it drifts across the face of goal.

1612: The last time Chelsea played Blackburn, at Stamford Bridge in September, the match finished goalless and turned out to be Jose Mourinho's last Premier League fixture in charge of the Blues.

1610: The final Premier League game this side of Christmas Day is under way. Any more than one goal in this encounter and I will not be winning the office sweep.

1608: "Rovers have had a poor run of late, they'll need to step up here."
EISquirrel on 606

1600: Tight, tight action on the player rater front, with Giles Barnes currently edging it from Toon goal hero Mark Viduka. Barnes has 7.35 to Viduka's 7.33.

1554: Full-time Newcastle 2-2 Derby
Honours even at St James' Park, which probably won't please either manager. Newcastle will have wanted to beat the bottom side at home, while after being so close to winning the Rams will be gutted not to have held on and completed an unlikely double over the Magpies. Cracking finish to the game, though, with Newcastle pouring forward. Emre dragged a shot wide with just about the last action of the match.

1550: Newcastle win a corner. Shay Given comes up field. Incredible noise as the fourth official indicates four minutes of injury time. Given retreats after seeing the board.

1548: Derby appeal very strongly for a penalty after Tyrone Mears goes down but the visiting team's protests fall on deaf ears. Drama, what drama.

1547: GOAL Newcastle 2-2 Derby
Mark Viduka
scores his second of the game to save his team's blushes. A long kick up-field from Shay Given is played into Viduka's path and the Australian makes no mistake from 20 yards on the half-volley.

1544: Big Sam is minutes away from being the Christmas turkey in the eyes of many Newcastle supporters. Sorry.

1543: All Newcastle now. Obafemi Martins seems to be through on goal but Jay McEveley, who has had an excellent game, makes a covering tackle. Superb.

1541: Just about 10 minutes left for Newcastle to salvage something. James Milner delivers a wicked cross but there is nobody on the end of it.

1538: TEAM NEWS Blackburn v Chelsea
Blackburn make three changes from the team that was beaten by Arsenal in the Carling Cup - Zurab Khizanishvili and Brett Emerton return from suspension, while Tugay comes in for Benni McCarthy.
Ricardo Carvalho makes his first league start since 11 November for Chelsea, who also include Michael Essien after suspension and Shaun Wright-Phillips following his midweek Carling Cup omission.

1537: Derby have a three-on-two break but lack the composure to make it count. The chance is wasted.

1535: Joey Barton makes way for Emre. The crowd cheer the substitution but will the gifted Turk have the chance to demonstrate his brand of left-footed brilliance?

1534: "The fans have turned on Newcastle and are starting to get on their back."
Steve Stone on BBC Radio 5 Live

1532: Derby hit Newcastle on the break. Habib Beye makes a vital interception, cutting out a cross from Kenny Miller with Steve Howard lurking.

1530: "No way, Paul. Best Aussie by far was Tony Dorigo at Villa."
Jonathan Rich in Hove via text on 81111

Nice if confusing chat on the Melbourne-born England international who won 15 caps.

1528: Damien Duff comes on to make his first appearance of the season, replacing Nicky Butt. Slight change of hairstyle for Duff, who seems to have had the odd streak put in.

1526: This is turning into something of an old fashioned encounter with lots of lusty challenges and shoulder charges. It is working the home fans into something of a lather. Great stuff. Like football from the golden era.

1524: Chaos inside the Derby penalty area. Mark Viduka wants a penalty for a tug on his shirt. The referee is not interested. Scenes of total anger in the stands after Darren Moore goes down injured. I don't think they believe Moore is really injured.

1522: Derby have now scored more away goals in 50 minutes against Newcastle than they have managed in 810 minutes against nine other Premier League teams. Quite remarkable, to borrow from the David Coleman phrasebook.

1519: David Rozehnal, beaten far too easily in the move that led to the goal, is withdrawn with Steven Taylor replacing him. No messing from Big Sam.

"The central defensive pairing has been a real problem for Newcastle this season. For one reason or another they just cannot seem to get it right."
Steve Stone on BBC Radio 5 Live

1517: "I remember in America at a Dallas Cowboys game, the crowd were dead so they played "Wake Up" by Rage Against the Machine. Fired the crowd up and then the crowd fired the team up."
gunner-rossmcd on 606

1515: Joey Barton drills a shot across goal and wide as Newcastle push for an equaliser.

1512: GOAL Newcastle 1-2 Derby
Kenny Miller
puts Derby ahead again with a superb finish after nutmegging David Rozehnal. The Scottish international drilled the ball home from 14 yards, prompting a jig of joy from Paul Jewell.

1511: "Craig Johnston comes a close second after Harry Kewell in his Leeds strip."
nigeweir on 606

1508: Tim Cahill on the mark for Everton. Mark Viduka scores for Newcastle. Is this Australia Day or something? My favourite Aussie ever to play in England is Craig Johnston. Agreed?

1507: "Steven Pienaar is a disgrace to his profession after his ridiculous foul that effectively has turned the title into a two-horse race. Just what was he thinking of? Did he honestly think he would get away with that, especially at Old Trafford?"
tedknott on 606

Harsh. Very, very harsh.

1505: The players are back out on the pitch and the match is back under way.

1503: Relatively quiet at St James' Park at half-time. Mind you, Bob Dylan's playing over the public address system. Subterranean Homesick Blues, since you ask. I like it. Any better half-time tunes that you can think of?

1453: Giles Barnes evidently impressed you player rater fans out there, and he leads the way with 7.79. Mind you, Kenny Miller's quite literally just behind him on 7.78, which will lead to some interesting half-time banter between them (should they use player rater at half-time, which is, to be fair, unlikely). Mark Viduka's the top Newcastle man on 6.86. Do you agree?

1448: Half-time Newcastle 1-1 Derby
The huffing and puffing is at an end for 15 minutes. A very scrappy conclusion to a less than sensational opening 45 minutes. I imagine that Paul Jewell will be the happier of the two managers by some considerable margin. Darren Moore has been very solid in the Derby defence.

1447: Stephen Bywater punches clear a curling free-kick into the box.

1444: Not exactly pulsating at Newcastle as Derby fans roll out the 'oles' after stringing together half a dozen passes.

1440: "To not take all three points today is simply unacceptable. No disrespect to Derby but with the squad Newcastle have, then games against bottom-of-the-league clubs at St James' Park should be bread and butter points."
Raymond from Falkirk via text on 81111

1434: A shot from Nicky Butt is deflected out for a corner. Stephen Bywater saves a low cross-cum-shot from Charles N'Zogbia. The home team are firmly in the ascendancy. Batten down the hatches time for Derby.

1433: "Regarding Santa hats and wearing them. It could be worse. Don't think I've seen anyone wearing full Santa Claus dress yet this weekend. There were a couple last season - atrocious. They just make you look silly and out of place at a football game."
Chacor on 606

1429: GOAL Newcastle 1-1 Derby
Mark Viduka equalises with an excellent strike from 20 yards, low and precise. The ball squirms his way after Alan Smith, on the floor, manages to resist the challenge of several Derby players. Paul Jewell will be less than impressed with his team's failure to clear the danger.

Does anyone think Derby will survive?

1427: Charles N'Zogbia takes the free-kick, which avoids the wall but also the intended target.

1426: A tremendous roar goes around St James' Park. James Milner slips at the crucial moment when in space in the Derby area. Darren Moore is penalised for a foul on the edge of the area.

1424: Newcastle almost equalise. Giles Barnes clears off the line from a Obafemi Martins header.

1423: "If Derby are to pull off a miracle survival act this season, then their main players are likely to be the men who got the goal and assist for the goal - Giles Barnes and Kenny Miller."

1421: James Milner almost picks out Obafemi Martins with a great cross-field pass but Jay McEveley makes an excellent and timely defensive header. The subsequent corner is wasted.

1417: You've got to feel for all those Newcastle fans, being as passionate as they are and not having won a trophy in such a very long time. And if they lose today then they won't even have the luxury of enjoying their turkey.

1412: Tyrone Mears crashes into Alan Smith as the Newcastle player shapes for a spectacular volley. No penalty is awarded.

1410: Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce is in the stands, chewing furiously. Jay McEveley makes a great block to deny Mark Viduka.

1408: GOAL Newcastle 0-1 Derby
Giles Barnes hits the ball low and precise from 20 yards for his first Premier League goal and just the Rams second away from home all season. It all goes very quiet inside St James' Park.

1407: Correction, Derby win a corner. Eddie Lewis takes, swinging the ball in with his left foot but the danger is cleared.

1404: Not sure what the situation is in the streets around St James' Park but it is very much one way traffic inside the stadium. Newcastle pushing forward.

1402: Under way at Newcastle as Derby look to do the double over their opponents.

1357: The teams are coming out at Newcastle. Derby defender Claude Davis picked up an injury in the warm-up. His place in the team is taken by Eddie Lewis, with Lee Holmes coming on to the bench.

1356: "I feel sorry for Everton. They have a good squad and are the nearest to challenging the top four. Man Utd have got out of jail a little today."
Chris Waddle on BBC Radio 5 Live

1354: FULL-TIME Man Utd 2-1 Everton
Heartbreak hotel in a big way for David Moyes and his team, who came so close to a draw. Very much Happy Christmas for United, though, who can tuck into their turkey knowing that they remain firmly on Arsenal's coat-tails at the top of the table.

1349: GOAL Man Utd 2-1 Everton
Cristiano Ronaldo sends the keeper the wrong way, cool as you like. Ryan Giggs was going nowhere when he was fouled. If I was Steven Pienaar I would avoid any sort of eye contact with David Moyes, who will be choking on his turkey now. Two minutes left.

Steven Pienaar brings down Ryan Giggs. Needless. David Moyes has his head in his hands.

1347: Wayne Rooney shoots from 20 yards. It is a firm effort that Tim Howard saves.

1346: Goalscorer Tim Cahill limps off to be replaced by Victor Anichebe. Darren Fletcher, no relation, comes on for Anderson.

1344: David Moyes looking a touch pensive on the sidelines. His team are minutes away from an excellent point. Steven Pienaar is booked for a blatant handball.

1341: My wife has just contacted me to say she has eaten the last sausage wrapped in bacon following last night's Christmas dinner. Is that love?

About 10 minutes left at Old Trafford. Everton have a free-kick that Thomas Gravesen strikes along the ground. It lacks power and is easily saved.

1338: Thomas Gravesen comes on for Yakubu. It has not been a vintage afternoon for Yakubu. Both Gravesen and Lee Carsley are on the pitch.

1337: "Phil Neville to score an own goal in the 90th minute."
Gunner84 on 606

1335: A clumsy challenge by Tony Hibbert on Cristiano Ronaldo leads to a free-kick in a dangerous area. Ronaldo shapes to shoot then plays a square ball to Wayne Rooney, who is just off target with his shot. His strike grazes the top of the crossbar.

1331: Plenty of step-overs from Cristiano Ronaldo but it comes to nothing. Man Utd make a change, with Louis Saha replacing Michael Carrick. Ryan Giggs moves to the centre of midfield with Wayne Rooney switching to the left.

1329: "Everton are defending very well."
Chris Waddle on BBC Radio 5 Live

1327: TEAM NEWS Newcastle v Derby
Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce drafts striker Mark Viduka back into the starting line-up for the first time in a month at the expense of skipper Geremi, while winger Damien Duff is on the bench following a seven-month lay-off.
Derby make two changes, with striker Steve Howard replacing injured midfielder Matt Oakley and Jay McEveley coming in for Newcastle old boy Andy Griffin.

1325: Man Utd started the half well but Everton seem supremely well organised and the game has reached something of a stalemate.

1323: "Imaginary card waving is cheating, but that is just my opinion. However, I have mates in Portugal who have been brought up with totally different values and beliefs."
kconfire on 606

1319: Everton work the ball along their back four and then push forward down the left. It is a moment's respite for the visiting team after a difficult start to the opening half. Yakubu tries his luck from distance. Should not have bothered.

1315: Carlos Tevez runs onto a superb pass from Wayne Rooney and forces an excellent low save from Tim Howard.

1314: Man Utd are playing some excellent passing football, probing the Everton defence. Some of the movement has been superb with the front four causing all sorts of chaos.

1311: Everton started the half well but Man Utd break, with a shot from Carlos Tevez deflected over the crossbar. From the subsequent corner Tim Howard makes a reaction save from an Anderson shot that deflected off Phil Neville on its way to goal.

1309: A few people in the stands are wearing Christmas Santa style hats. A good thing or not? I think that wearing them definitely says something about a person.

1308: David Moyes looks a little chilly in his seat but must be pleased with the state of the match so far. Everton win a corner - their second of the half.

1305: The second-half starts with one change for Man Utd. John O'Shea replaces Danny Simpson, who had a difficult first 45 minutes.

1300: Some early Derby team news. Giles Barnes plays in the centre of midfield after Matt Oakley fails a fitness test on a thigh injury. Steve Howard partners Kenny Miller up front.

1256: "'But Anderson is booked for suggesting Howard Webb should book Phil Neville. Good on Mr Webb I say.' Just speechless, do you think you could be a bit more anti-united Mister Fletcher?"
shop assistant on 606

Shop assistant, I think you're embarrassing yourself in a big way. Unless, of course, you think that players running after the referee waving imaginary cards around is a good thing? Which then filters down to the young kids who watch football and then they start doing it in the school yard. The next thing you know all the little kids are great at waving imaginary cards and no good at football. Which means England will never ever again qualify for a major tournament. Is that what you want?

1251: Cristiano Ronaldo, not for the first time I suspect, is top of the player rater pops with 8.35. Do you agree?

1249: Half-time Man Utd 1-1 Everton
The home team have probably had the better of the opening half but Cahill's header ensures it is honours even at the break.

1247: Cristiano Ronaldo almost puts Man Utd back in front with an acrobatic volley that just misses the target. The opening comes after some delightful play between Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney, who now seems to be focusing on his football.

1245: All sorts going on. Ryan Giggs slices a volley and then a period ensues when all sorts of challenges fly in. Man Utd win a free-kick but Anderson is booked for suggesting Howard Webb should book Phil Neville. Good on Mr Webb I say.

1242: "I feel United will take the lead just before the break. Possibly a counter attack with Rooney sidefooting us into the lead."
EnglandLad23 on 606

1238: A corner comes in, Michael Carrick is unmarked but completely misses the ball. Not his greatest moment. Man Utd are starting to stretch Everton a little with Cristiano Ronaldo particularly threatening.

1236: Man Utd on top at the moment. A lovely sunny day in the north, by the way.

1234: Joleon Lescott heads a teasing cross from Wayne Rooney off the line with Cristiano Ronaldo lurking.

1233: Go on Phil. Go on Phil, go on. Oh, smash it over the bar from 20 yards despite having loads of time to pick your spot. Brother Gary grins from the stands.

1230: Wayne Rooney is cutting a very frustrated figure. He is berating officials left, right and centre. I sometimes wonder whether footballers need to put their own house in order when it comes to abuse within a stadium.

1228: GOAL Man Utd 1-1 Everton
A great header from Tim Cahill as Everton equalise. Cahill climbs above Patrice Evra to convert Steven Pienaar's cross from the left.

1224: GOAL Man Utd 1-0 Everton
Hmm, some real quality from Cristiano Ronaldo, who drills the ball across a motionless Tim Howard and into the far corner of the net from 20 yards. The ball takes a slight deflection but it is very much Ronaldo's goal. The Portuguese is now the joint top scorer in the Premier League.

1222: Mikel Arteta apparently has a stomach bug. That could really hit his Christmas turkey intake. Lots of endeavour at Old Trafford but a lack of quality and cutting edge so far.

"I think David Moyes will be delighted with the opening 20 minutes."
Chris Waddle on BBC Radio 5 Live

1221: Some excellent arm waving from referee Howard Webb. Had no idea he was interested in semaphore.

1220: "I have a feeling a red card will make an appearance today. Call it a hunch."
Johan Mourinho on 606

1215: Another yellow. Tony Hibbert sliding in on Patrice Evra. The Man Utd defender stays down. Feisty this one.

1214: Joleon Lescott breaks down the left and drills a low cross that Tomasz Kuszczak holds. Tim Cahill is booked. Yellows all over the place.

An entertaining match so far with both teams looking to push forward.

1211: Tim Howard fails to hold a shot from a tight angle by Wayne Rooney. Carlos Tevez strikes the rebound, which is deflected wide.

1210: Patrice Evra is booked for a very naughty challenge on Tony Hibbert. Not a festive challenge.

Someone has just flown a plane over Old Trafford with a banner suggesting Everton should stay in Liverpool.

1209: Carlos Tevez tries his luck with a volley that flies high and wide of Tim Howard's goal. Today is the first time Howard is playing against his former club.

1205: Wayne Rooney is booked for a sliding tackle on Tim Cahill.

"It is a silly challenge early in the game. There was no need for it."
Chris Waddle on BBC Radio 5 Live

1205: "21? What? No! Zero. All 0-0. It is going to be a weekend for goalkeepers."
Alan, Ikano, Nottingham via text on 81111

1204: Yakubu takes an elbow in the ribs. Winces in pain, but he's alright.

1202: "I'm going to do some painting and watch it dry. I can't stand these two wannabe teams."
oh twadi on 606

Ohhh, check you out.

1200: Under way at Old Trafford. David Moyes and Sir Alex Ferguson laughing on the sidelines.

1158: INJURY UPDATE Edwin van der Sar is out with a groin injury. Owen Hargreaves is out with a back complaint and Rio Ferdinand has still not fully recovered after having stitches inserted into a foot injury.

1156: "21 goals in total from the three Premier League fixtures:
Man Utd 5-2 Everton
Newcastle 4-1 Derby
Blackburn 4-5 Chelsea
Anyone agree?"
benjo265 on 606

I'm not sure anyone is going to agree.

1155: Old Trafford pretty much packed to the rafters. Lots of woolly hats on show. I believe the kids call them beanies. Man Utd have conceded just two goals at home in the Premier League this season - against Middlesbrough and Derby.

1150: Not much of a consensus with regard to the sweep. I'm going to go for eight, though I have an awful track record at this sort of thing.

The Christmas dinner eatage seems to range from nought to four. No Christmas dinner by 23 December? Some of you people need to focus on your priorities at this time of year.

1138: A little bit of help please with regard to today's office sweep. How many goals in total from the three Premier League fixtures?

1137: Everton have not lost since they were defeated 2-1 by Liverpool at Goodison on 20 October. They have been in top form - but can they take something from Old Trafford? Will United's back four be able to keep the energetic Yakubu in check?

1135: Just to clarify following several 606 enquiries - Caroline Cheese is currently sat to my right nursing quite a big hangover.

1125: "I'm in Liverpool (that is Liverpool in Sydney, Australia) and I'm a true blue. The mother of my girlfriend told me if Everton beat Man Utd she will prepare me the best Xmas dinner - that is a kangaroo pie with mash."
aussie harry toffee

Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson is without Edwin van der Sar, Rio Ferdinand and Owen Hargreaves for the visit of the Toffees, meaning Tomasz Kuszczak, Danny Simpson and Michael Carrick start.
Tim Howard, Joseph Yobo, Tim Cahill and Yakubu are recalled to the Everton side following their midweek Uefa Cup win at AZ Alkmaar but Mikel Arteta misses out due to illness.

1120: "Well Paul, I'm off to watch United in a small bar in central Finland. Then it's back to the in-laws' for the first of 4 Christmas dinners in as many days. Can you believe there's no snow here? Bloody global warming!!"
nunChucker on 606

But do they have sausages wrapped in bacon in Finland? And is it turkey or some other kind of bird?

1115: Some early team news from Old Trafford. No Edwin van der Sar or Owen Hargreaves for Man Utd. Not even on the bench.

1110: Some fans are already inside Old Trafford. Too early by my reckoning.

Still, I guess the home fans have passed through the turnstiles confident of another home win. Man Utd have won their last eight home fixtures in the Premier League.

In-form Everton, on the other hand, are hoping to arrest the pattern of history. They have not beaten Man Utd at Old Trafford since August 1992.

1100 GMT: Now then - the Sunday before Christmas and three of the finest Premier League fixtures one could possibly hope for to keep us entertained through the afternoon. The kick-off times are nicely staggered as well.

There tends to be a lot of staggering in general at this time of year and I'm feeling a little delicate myself today.

It was very much Christmas dinner with the mother-in-law last night. By the time I get home tonight it will be straight round to a friend's and my second turkeyfest in as many days. Start work at 0800 on Monday and then, after getting home, the father-in-law will have arrived. Wine will give way to beer.

What I want to know is - are you logging on as normal today or are you round at Uncle Dave's for Christmas? And how many Christmas dinners can one person eat before the normally irresistible lure of sausages wrapped in bacon starts to wear off?

Barclays Premier League Table
01 February 2010 22:00
    P GD PTS
1 Chelsea 23 38 54
2 Man Utd 24 36 53
3 Arsenal 24 32 49
4 Tottenham 24 20 42

5 Liverpool 24 16 41

6 Man City 22 14 41
7 Aston Villa 23 13 40
8 Birmingham 23 -1 34
9 Everton 23 -1 32
10 Blackburn 24 -15 28
11 Fulham 23 -2 27
12 Stoke 22 -7 26
13 Sunderland 23 -10 24
14 Wigan 22 -23 22
15 West Ham 23 -9 21
16 Bolton 22 -15 21
17 Wolverhampton 23 -21 21

18 Burnley 23 -23 20
19 Hull 23 -26 20
20 Portsmouth 22 -16 15


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